Ernest is a great Photographer

and he has kindly emailed the best shots across.
Playing for Penny and the residents of St. Joseph’s.



and a lovely one of the three of us at the art gallery.


Ernest is also quite something in the kitchen department and we dined with him twice. Susan’s fridge was then bulging with leftovers which fed us during the rest of the week!
I could not have been more welcomed.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Visit to the Canadian Seven.

This was a fabulous visit to a gallery just north of Toronto.
Inspiring landscapes by men who were passionate about Canada and who portrayed the magnificence of nature with visionary innovation. …. and we were permitted to take photos!




Wonderful bold colours and forms.

and a lovely group too!


From Left to Right, Ernest, Susan, John and myself.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Here we are.

Do you remember building sand tunnels?
The moment when there is just a finger-hole of daylight between one side and the other?
At some point, if the sand is not firm and the hole is enlarged too much, the whole sand-bridge comes tumbling in.
We were told never, ever to burrow in or crawl through.

In some way I have very carefully compartmentalised my adoptive family and my more recent family…. and now there is perhaps room for a tiny little stream of connection in place of a deep withholding. Call it divided loyalties if it must have a name.
It is one thing to share pictures of myself as an infant with Penny…… she had kept a photo of me as a baby of a few months old and by some intuitive synchrony it reappeared during the year that I had made a decision to seek help to trace her…… about time she had a glimpse of my life, (although I was cautious about giving her the choice.)
It has also been fascinating to share photos of myself at various stages of growing up with my sister Susan and compare them with pics of similar ages of herself and all those brothers!
On one of my morning rides I realised that it was going to be ok to nudge the sand a little more…..just a few grains….. to be able to bring my mother and father alongside for a moment…. In other words, to share a photo of them. ….
Quite easy when it comes to our children….. All those cousins!
Sudden indigestion at so many new faces, past and present generations to take in….. grandparents, great grand parents, siblings, cousins, etc.
Ah, the perfect phrase…..” Cognitive dissonance” ie….. brain fog!
I have had to take little steps and pause.
This is where my Alexander Technique has been an element of extraordinary, almost unexpected support. Just making space. Again and again.
The other major support has come from Susan and John……. I have huge, huge appreciation for the quiet acceptance and gentle respect that both of you have shown while I may have appeared to withdraw or even disengage. ….. Reflecting here in Keene, where I am now staying with Tim and Talu, it really has been a remarkable time, especially when we all came together last Saturday.
Without those morning rides, and your discreet ‘holding’ I might not have felt as comfortable or been able to relax with everyone.
Mark, David, Keith, Brenda and Jaylynn journeyed for several hours so that they could get together for the day. Penny stepped up and made a feisty outing from the nursing home. This has not happened in a long while and meant overcoming a certain amount of trepidation to manage a wheelchair. When David’s car wasn’t quite right, everyone persevered until the right taxi could be found.
Ernest, ( Susan’s and “the brothers’ ” father) also came.
To me this felt like such a gift of generosity from everybody, and it was a delight to see, no, be part of a family get together in gorgeous weather, tucking in to a fabulous barbecue……

Nobody got buried in the sand.
Once in a blue red moon!?

So I think I can share some photos in the other direction, before the tide comes in and washes away this moment in time.
My lovely sister, Susan



The bunch.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting to know the daisies

In the early morning light the Michaelmas daisies have been one thing.
This afternoon, beside the river and in full sunlight, I came up from behind so to speak, and right up close.
I love the way the light glows through them and how their untidy scrimble curls over or stretches out in the most delicate shades of lavender.
Their deep gold centres and pale, fragile stems.
How they are as soloists and in ensemble.
Like members of the same family. Wayward, neat, little and large. Tightly folded up or wide open. Such a mixture.
Each time I potter off along the trail, I spot something even more alluring.
I shall be getting quite familiar soon.





I tried “turning the page” with quick scribbles so as not to get too hooked on an end result.
Here are some of my friends from the river bank.





More friends and family to follow.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Transmission…… Language……. Perception…. Yawning Gulf……?

“Connecting Through Music”

Does music evoke emotion as much as it expresses emotion?

This question popped up in somebody else’s blog recently and set me thinking (again)

I will be visiting Penny today, so perhaps I will be able to find out more about her experience of music. In the past she has spoken of colour and fabric when talking about our favourite composers.
For me, of course, it just goes straight to emotion. Narrative. Journey. Light and shade.

What is this mystery of music that has held me in it’s embrace and become such a natural means of expression that I have sometimes barely been able to open my mouth for articulate, meaningful communication? Over the decades I have had to work hard to express my ideas, thoughts and feelings. It has become easier, but when I am challenged, I regress and find I am tongue tied all over again.
Did I say anything at all yesterday as I played ? Well, what I mean is, did the music speak of what I felt? Does the language of music exist independently and speak for itself? I hope so, otherwise it would just be an indulgence and an imposition.
It is probably another insolvable mystery, but one which continues to draw me into its web.

I would like to introduce and share a photo of me with Penny.
There are very special and important people (sister Susan and her husband John ) hovering too, but I think it is first things first and maybe more will come later as I feel my way.

For one thing, it was not until I met Penny for the first time about 18 years ago that I had any experience or perception of what it was to know family resemblance. That is so weird I can hardly get my head around it.
I lived life not seeing family resemblance in others let alone for myself.
That all changed over night, as a 40 something year old!

So you can understand how extraordinary it is to look into the face of somebody who looks like me….. who I look like.

It is truly lovely.

But I don’t think I can take in too much at a time.
There is a huge number of relatives stretching back and forth through generations. When I look at all their photos ( all looking like each other and with hints of me and my children and all these cousins and so on) it is like a rolling ocean of fascination …… and my digestive system swings rather quickly into hiccups!

So I will put up just one picture.


This is Penny.
I am very proud of her and grateful for her.
I might otherwise not be here at all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Autumn Leaves

An early bike ride close to my sister’s is a great way to start the day.
At lunch time I will be playing a short selection of music for Penny and the residents in her nursing home. 5 out of the seven pieces, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms and Debussy I have pulled from her bookshelves. ….. we clearly have developed similar tastes ….. hard to know how that comes about?!

So to clear my mind, I have focussed on the beauty of nature.
Cobwebs and sunrise.




Michaelmas daisies and colour



DSC08312.JPGall bein



All being well, I may have some photos of people to share soon.

I am reminded that Michaelmas is approaching. Taming the dragon and encountering the inner shadows….. hopefully with growing awareness and kindness.
Music reaches directly in to some of these cobwebby places. It has always been a bridge of profound connection for me. I hope the music I have chosen so carefully will invite whoever is there later to walk towards themselves.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We meet again.

“I am quite lost” smiles her frail upturned face.
I have instinctively put my arms around her. I was not sure if I would until that moment.
I feel very protective of her.

There are two little salty globes rolling down her cheeks. They rim around the lower edge of her spectacles.
These perch on the lower end of her nose.

There is something so strangely familiar amongst the wrinkling between her cheeks and eyes, cheeks and nose, wisps of grey-white hair, as this lovely confusion hovers between us. I can’t stop looking at her. I am not sure if she knows it’s me.
She seems to know, but then I realise that she doesn’t quite know who I am.
This is not fair, because I know so clearly who she is, and I have surprised her.

Recognition comes in like a wandering tide. ” you don’t look the same as your photo”
We are speechless with the moment. I still can’t stop looking at her. She is a bit like a mirror. …. a time-travel mirror. We are even more alike this time.
All the lights come on. A quiet drama today.

There is a gift that helps to balance the subterranean bruising of early separation…… the sense of never-ending searching for something, that has so expressed itself in a life time of music.
I am free from the encumbrance of personal history, the weight of baggage or constraint of definition. I am neither daughter nor not-daughter. I am free to relate from choice.
How wonderful to still have the choice.

This time, 58 years ago, in the early days of September, Penny Pether walked into an adoption office to hand over her 5 week old baby. …. countless single mothers were faced with little choice in the 50’s…… she had to leave empty handed and in the days to come, watch other perambulators “for Christ’s sake” and behave as normal and pull her life together.
It would be 40 or so years before we met again.
It feels ok now.
(Our first meeting, is it 18 years ago? made me feel as though I had been hit on the side of the head with a shovel. )

I am in Canada to see my natural mother, Penny. We have some more catching up to do.

A huge thank you to Susan (my ‘little sister’ ) and husband John.
Your warmth and ongoing generosity has made it so much easier than it might have been.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments